Tired But Wired Top 5 Tips To Heal The Adrenal Glands Naturally
Exhausted despite a full night of sleep? Feeling stressed, overwhelmed and forgetful? Relying on coffee for energy? Constantly hungry and craving salty, crunchy foods? Bloated and gaining weight, especially around your midsection? Feeling lightheaded or dizzy upon standing? If so, your adrenal glands may be to blame.
- The adrenals are two small glands approximately the size of a walnut that sit atop each of your kidneys. Their primary function is to process all incoming stress, but they also play a role in hormone production, digestion, the metabolism and fluid balance.
- When stress is high, the adrenals get overworked and extreme exhaustion, impaired memory, bloating, insatiable cravings and dizziness upon standing may ensue. Healing the adrenals is a critical piece to weight loss, energy, immune health and a well-functioning brain.
- Top tips include: eat a protein-rich breakfast, swap coffee for matcha, avoid intense workouts, upgrade the quality of your salt and experiment with adaptogens.
- To learn more, join us for the Thyroid-Adrenal Reset Lunch & Learn where we provide a deeper understanding of the adrenal glands and additional tips to re-balance naturally.
The good news: the body is a miraculous, self-healing mechanism. With the right support, you can heal your adrenals and regain energy, mental clarity, strength and hormone balance. Here are our top tips:
How Does Adrenal Fatigue Affect My Menopause Journey
Adrenal fatigue affects our menopause journey in so many ways!
First, we lose our backup supply of estrogen or progesterone. When the ovaries slow down, the adrenals produce DHEA. This mother hormone activates and converts itself to estrogen or progesterone. The adrenals also produce testosterone which may also convert into estrogen. As a result, we are able to relieve menopause symptoms.
Second, adrenal fatigue can make menopause symptoms worse. Cortisol ruins your balance big time! This stress hormone suppresses metabolism, digestion, brain function and more. Believe it or not, the body sees menopause as a stressor too, and this adds more burden to the adrenals.
Third, adrenal fatigue symptoms can mask menopause! The symptoms of these two conditions are similar in that it can be hard to set them apart. However, Im going to let you in on a little secret, adrenal fatigue symptoms rarely include hot flashes and night sweats!
Myth #1 There Is No Such Thing As Adrenal Fatigue
Weve been studying this condition for over 40 years, and we were writing about its symptoms before it even had its name. Its very real. Ask anyone whos had it and healed from it.
While its true that you wont find an ICD-9 medical code for Adrenal Fatigue, it exists as a condition. Because conventional medicine focuses on treating only symptoms, no one can seem to agree about what to call or do with Adrenal Fatigues common group of symptoms as a whole.
So when you read Adrenal Fatigue is not real, think of the hundreds of thousands of patients who have healed from more or less the same set of symptoms using the same proven protocol.
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Causes Of Adrenal Fatigue
Excessive stress, an important cause of burnout, can be from many sources. Chemical toxicity and nutritional depletion are among the physical causes. Mental, emotional or spiritual stress may be a major factor. Financial, family or other stress may also contribute to burnout.
Any excessive stress can deplete the adrenals, especially when weakened by poor nutrition. Working too much or emotional stress are two common causes. Excessive stimulation, especially for children, is another cause. Fast-paced, high-stress, fear-based lifestyles are a sure prescription for adrenal burnout. Other stressors in cities are noise and electromagnetic pollution. Cell phones, microwave towers and appliances like televisions, microwave ovens and computers give off strong electrical fields.
Chronic infections play a critical role in some cases of adrenal exhaustion. Chronic infections may originate in infected teeth or gums, though they can be located anywhere in the body. They contribute greatly to the toxic load of the body. Infections also cause inflammation and stress that must be countered using the adrenal hormones such as cortisol and cortisone.
Stimulants damage the adrenal glands. They whip the adrenals. Caffeine, sugar and alcohol are among the most common stimulants.
Is Adrenal Fatigue Real Forget The Label And Treat The Stress
Who isnt tired these days? Were constantly on call for work, family and friends, and often forget to take time for ourselves. Most of us recognize that chronic stress can take its toll on our health and well-being. But what if youre so fatigued that even getting more sleep doesnt seem to help?
Complementary and alternative medicine provide an explanation for stress-induced fatigue that offers hope to the chronically tired. According to naturopathic doctors, holistic nutritionists and others, adrenal fatigue is a condition where the adrenals, glands that sit above the kidneys, dont produce enough cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that plays a role in managing stress and regulating metabolism, sleep, blood sugar and inflammation.
Fatigue is probably the number one complaint among new patients in my practice, says Leila Kirdani, a family physician specializing in functional medicine. Anyone with prolonged fatigue, with difficulty sleeping, who feels burned-out or lack of enjoyment in life, may be suffering from adrenal fatigue.
Basically, the theory goes that too much stress wears out our adrenal glands they get tired and dont produce enough cortisol for us to feel energized. So why arent our family doctors telling us about this?
And so we see the bipolar worlds of conventional medicine and complementary and alternative medicine are firmly divided into two camps: adrenal fatigue doesnt exist vs. adrenal fatigue is an important medical issue.
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How To Naturally Treat Adrenal Fatigue
You can naturally treat adrenal fatigue symptoms with diet changes, meditation practices, regular exercise, and minimal supplementation.
Incorporating osteopathic manipulation treatments can also help your muscle tissues relax and improve circulation in the body. Acupuncture treatments can harmonize the flow of Qi in your body, and specific herbs can assist in bringing your body back to baseline cortisol levels.
Meditation If you experience the adrenal fatigue symptoms mentioned above, stress is likely contributing to your fatigue. Incorporating a daily 15 minute meditation practice during which you slow your mind and breathe deeply can help reduce your stress level. In the long term, a good daily meditation practice can help reduce many of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Plant-based diet A diet to reduce adrenal fatigue can assist your body in detoxifying itself and relieving the physical symptoms of fatigue. Remember, a large complaint of adrenal fatigue sufferers is feeling fatigued all of the time. A plant-based diet can make it easier for your body to digest food. A temporary absence or minimal presence of meat can also aid in the detoxification process. More specific diet recommendations are found below.
Exercise Starting an exercise program can be very difficult when you feel fatigued. But gently exercising over a period of 3-4 weeks can help you start feeling better. I specifically recommend starting a very basic yoga routine.
Supplements To Improve Fatigue
Low blood levels of vitamin D have been proposed as a contributor to fatigue in a number of autoimmune health conditions, including lupus . However, there are few studies that confirm the relationship. So, though there are numerous reasons to take vitamin D, fatigue isnt one of them.
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Assess And Restore Your Iron Levels
Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common causes of fatigue. Your doctor can test your iron levels with a simple iron or ferritin blood test. If you are low in iron, taking an iron supplement may help improve your fatigue .
Avoid taking iron unless you know you are deficient, as excess iron can cause other problems.
How Adrenal Fatigue Goes Unchecked
Today we live in a world that is troubled with so many challenges. Its a relief to know that although your adrenal glands serve a number of functions within your body, their primary responsibility is to help you react and survive in the face of stress. Sometimes we may not feel stressed, but stress comes in many disguises: physical, emotional, perceived, psychological, environmental, infectious, or any combination of these. Because your adrenal glands work in tandem with your body and mind, they have the ability to respond to every kind of stress.
Unfortunately, your health-care practitioner is likely to ignore or dismiss adrenals as the source of your problem unless you are suffering from either Addisons disease, in which case your adrenals severely under produce, or Cushings syndrome, in which they severely overproduce. These two conditions are well understood by conventional medicine. But if your adrenal imbalance is less extremeas is true for hundreds of thousands of U.S. womenyour practitioner is unlikely to recognize your condition. Thats because, despite the enormous body of science relating adrenal problems to a wide variety of symptoms, adrenal fatigue is not a commonly accepted diagnosis.
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Make Sleep A Priority
Ahhh, if only it were that easy, right? I admit I am totally counting the days until my kids can wake up and make ME breakfast, but Im not waiting until they let me sleep in to get good rest. Instead, I use these 18 science-backed tips to get deeper, better sleep. I dont do all of them at once, I do incorporate most of them daily. Feel free to pick and choose what works for you.
You Might Have Adrenal Fatigue Heres How To Treat It Naturally
- Your adrenal glands are two nickel-sized glands, just above your kidneys. Adrenals produce and control cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Adrenal fatigue comes from chronic stress. When you push your body and mind too hard, your adrenals stop producing cortisol the way they should.
- Signs of adrenal fatigue are low energy, trouble sleeping, weight gain, mood swings, depression, anxiety, brain fog, and autoimmune issues. Get an adrenal fatigue test to know for sure.
- The best adrenal fatigue treatment is stress management. Some of your best biohacking tools are the Bulletproof Diet, sleep hacking, anti-stress supplements, meditation, and possibly changing your caffeine intake.
Balanced adrenal glands are a key part of being Bulletproof. Your adrenals create and regulate cortisol, which makes them essential for hacking stress. When your adrenals work the way they should, you become more resilient, and you have a much easier time taking on lifes challenges.
But if youre overwhelmed by chronic stress, your adrenals can get burnt out from constantly producing cortisol. The result is adrenal fatigue. Your natural cortisol rhythm becomes irregular sometimes you produce too much cortisol, sometimes not enough and you can struggle to make other hormones, like androstenedione .
Adrenal fatigue is real, and its something you can treat.
Lets talk about the signs of adrenal fatigue, what causes it, how to stop it from happening, and how to treat it.
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Higher Energy Levels In The Evenings
The lower levels of cortisol can play havoc with our energy levels throughout the day. In a healthy person, cortisol reaches its highest level early in the morning before declining gradually throughout the day. However, some Adrenal Fatigue sufferers experience spikes in cortisol in the late afternoon and evening, often leading to insomnia.
A typical progression is to find yourself tired all day, then suddenly get a bounce in your energy levels late in the evening. This tends to occur in the earlier stages of Adrenal Fatigue when the adrenals are still capable of producing significant amounts of cortisol and adrenaline.
Stage : Stress Hormone Levels Reach An All
In this stage, the adrenals hibernate. Sometimes, they wake up and give the body small amounts of hormones, but they remain consistently low. The body goes on auto-flight mode when faced with stress. Body functions become sluggish, burnout happens and you experience persistent adrenal fatigue symptoms.
Dr. John Douillard explains adrenal fatigue in Ayurveda perspective. He says that when we are under stress, the adrenals drive us to make energy that we dont have. Its like borrowing money from the bank, we always have to pay it back. In our body the payback comes in the form of symptoms. Watch the interesting video of Dr. Douillard :
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Fight Or Flight: The Limbic System In Overdrive
The limbic systems job is to assess your environment consistently, both internally and externally. It first receives informationor stimulithrough the blood supply or sensory nerves and perception. It then filters that stimulus through your past experiences and belief systems. Then it determines whether the environment is safe or if there is a possible threat
When the limbic system perceives a threat, it tells the adrenals, via the HPA Axis and the ANS, to get busy flooding our body with stress hormones. These stress hormones are adrenaline and cortisol, and they help our bodies mobilize and kick in our fight-or-flight response.
The adrenaline and cortisol tell your heart to beat faster and give you the oxygen you need to avoid danger. They increase blood sugars for energy and prepare your muscles for whatever is coming your way, no matter how big or small the threat.
Most Adrenal Fatigue patients have an over-sensitive Limbic System that inaccurately assesses the environment, perceiving threats everywhere. The fight or flight response can be life-saving when it is turned on for a truly threatening situation. But if its triggered by more trivial stressors, the constant flood of adrenaline and cortisol causes tremendous wear and tear on your body.
Is Adrenal Fatigue Real
- By , Contributor
Low energy and tiredness are among the most common reasons patients seek help from a doctor. Despite being so common, it is often challenging to come up with a diagnosis, as many medical problems can cause fatigue. Doctors engage in detective work, obtaining a medical history, doing a physical exam, and doing blood tests. The results often yield no explanations. It can be frustrating for clinicians and patients when a clear-cut diagnosis remains elusive. An attractive theory, called adrenal fatigue, links stress exposure to adrenal exhaustion as a possible cause of this lack of energy.
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What Are The Complications Of Adrenal Insufficiency
You may have sudden severe symptoms. This is called acute adrenal insufficiency, or Addisonian crisis. This can occur when your body is stressed. That can happen for many reasons, such as an illness, fever, surgery, or dehydration. You may also have a crisis if you stop taking your steroids or lower the amount of your steroids suddenly. The symptoms of an Addisonian crisis include the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency or Addisons disease. But if an Addisonian crisis is not treated, it can lead to:
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First Stage: The Alarm
The first stage is an individual response to stress. Stressors can vary per person depending on the circumstances, as well as on a persons individual traits. For some people, an exam, a job interview, or the fact of going to the hospital is already stressing enough. Others are less prone to stress, so for them, for something to be a stressor it has to be more drastic than that.
To cope with stress, bodies generate a number of hormones. At this stage, lab testing can show elevated levels of DHEA, cortisol, insulin, norepinephrine, and adrenaline.
During this stage, people feel alarmed, may have trouble sleeping, or experience fatigue. Few people report symptoms like that in fact, few people believe them to be important. As a rule, people go through this stage more than once in a lifetime.
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Is Chronic Fatigue Adrenal Fatigue
Identifying the cause of chronic fatigue is often a challenge in medicine. If obvious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune conditions are ruled out most physicians assume fatigue is a symptom of depression Though that can be the case, in the majority of medical visits where fatigue is the main complaint an underlying cause can be identified using the concepts of integrative medicine
Fatigue is one of the most common reasons for medical evaluation, with up to 35% of all primary care visits for problems of fatigue and tiredness. One confusing area is the role adrenal function plays in fatigue. Many endocrinologists dispute the existence of adrenal fatigue except in cases of Addisons disease On the other hand it is common to hear non MD practitioners make a diagnosis of adrenal exhaustion as a frequent cause of fatigue.
Actually both ideas are accurate. The adrenal gland makes cortisol, the most important adaptive and stress hormone which controls many of the functions which effect energy production. Cortisol maintains blood sugar, fights inflammation and allergies and helps us survive stressful challenges. Cortisol is one hormone that we can not live without, allowing us to survive the challenges our distant ancestors faced with struggles for survival. However, with the type of chronic low level on going stress we face today, the adrenal response can become dysfunctional leading to fatigue and other symptoms.
A Better Response To How To Heal Adrenal Fatigue
There are many other, very common reasons for fatigue that have nothing to do with your adrenal glands and adrenal fatigue.
Fatigue symptoms are most often caused by:
- Gut dysfunction
- Inflammation from food sensitivities or autoimmune conditions
- Sleep problems like sleep apnea
- Other physiological effects of stress
To effectively heal your fatigue symptoms, make sure you are focusing on the right causes.
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